Tuesday, August 3, 2010


BACKGROUND: In one of Akron's most notorious murders, Prade's former wife, Dr. Margo Prade, 41, was found by her medical assistant slumped behind the wheel of her van in her office parking lot on Wooster Avenue on the morning before Thanksgiving in 1997. Autopsy findings revealed she was shot six times. After a lengthy trial, Douglas Prade was convicted in September 1998 of all charges in his indictment: aggravated murder, six counts of wiretapping and one count of possession of criminal tools. Common Pleas Judge Mary Spicer, now retired, sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 26 years. Prade, now 64, is serving his sentence at Marion Correctional Institution. The issue addressed by the high court involved a bite mark the killer apparently made on Dr. Prade's left arm — through her lab coat and blouse — as she was attempting to defend herself inside the van moments before the shooting. Although DNA tests were performed on that evidence in preparation for the 1998 trial, only Dr. Prade's DNA profile was found. Profuse bleeding on the doctor's lab coat had overwhelmed any traces of DNA that might have been embedded in the bite mark by the perpetrator. In December, Douglas Prade's attorney, David B. Alden, argued before the high court that DNA technology now can detect a small amount of male DNA, even if it is mixed in with vast amounts of female DNA. If another person's DNA is found inside the bite mark, Alden said, a reasonable conclusion would be that Douglas Prade was not the killer. The Ohio Supreme Court subsequently ordered a judge to decide whether new DNA testing could alter the case of a former Akron police captain convicted of killing his ex-wife. The Supreme Court ruled 5-2 Tuesday to send the case of Douglas Prade back to a trial court to determine the effect of scientific advances in DNA testing since his conviction in the 1997 slaying. The court said an earlier DNA test could not be definitive if newer tests can detect information the old tests couldn't have found. Lawyers for Prade, who's 64, argue that scientific advances in DNA testing could produce evidence of another suspect.


"(AP) — Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Attorney General Richard Cordray wrote county prosecutors on Tuesday to urge them to make DNA evidence available for testing in the cases of the following men," the Associated Press story filed earlier today, under the heading, "DNA tests sought by Ohio governor, atty. general," begins.

"Tyrone Noling, convicted in 1996 of aggravated murder in Portage County, on death row at Ohio State Penitentiary,"
the story continues.

"Former Akron police Capt. Douglas Prade, convicted in 1998 of aggravated murder in Summit County, at Madison Correctional Institution.

Martin Hatton, convicted in 1997 of rape in Pickaway County, at Warren Correctional Institution.

Robert Blackburn, convicted in 1993 of rape in Fairfield County, no longer in prison.

Eric Brunner, convicted in 1996 of attempted rape and rape in Stark County, no longer in prison.

Anthony Constant, convicted in 1986 of aggravated robbery, kidnapping and rape in Lake County, no longer in prison.

Arthur Swanson, convicted in 1999 of abduction, aggravated burglary and robbery in Ashland County, deceased.

SOURCES: Ohio governor's office, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction."

The story can be found at:





"DNA testing should be done on evidence collected in the cases of seven men who have served time in Ohio prisons, including one man currently on death row, the governor and attorney general said Tuesday in letters to county prosecutors.

Gov. Ted Strickland and Attorney General Richard Cordray asked the prosecutors to make available evidence related to the convictions, which date from 1986 to 1999.

The cases were brought to the attention of Strickland and Cordray by the Ohio Innocence Project, which seeks to help prison inmates who claim to be innocent.

“We believe that when DNA testing has the genuine and real potential to clarify the guilt, innocence or identity of a person suspected or convicted of a crime, significant efforts should be made to accomplish that testing,” the letters say. “We make this request to you only to promote, as best and fairly as we can, confidence and certainty in the administration of justice.”

The requests follow a review of more than 300 cases in which inmates’ applications for DNA testing were denied before 2008. In 30 of the cases, lawyers felt testing was warranted, and it has been granted in 18 of those cases.

Among the cases Strickland and Cordray include in their requests is that of death row inmate Tyrone Noling, who was convicted in 1996 of shooting to death an elderly couple in their Portage County home. He seeks testing of a cigarette butt.

They also ask the Summit County prosecutor to release evidence in the case of former Akron police Capt. Douglas Prade. Prade is serving 20 years to life in prison for the 1997 murder of his wife, Margo Prade, an Akron doctor. He seeks testing of his wife’s lab coat and lab coat buttons, bite marks left on her arm, her fingernail clippings and a tennis bracelet.

Of the seven men, the only ones currently in prison are Noling, Prade and Martin Hatton, who was convicted of rape in Pickaway County in 1997 but wants testing of a rape kit collected from his accuser. The letters say three of the men are no longer in prison and one has died."

This story can be found at:



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be accessed at:


For a breakdown of some of the cases, issues and controversies this Blog is currently following, please turn to:


Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; hlevy15@gmail.com;